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  • Anubhav Gaur

7 Most Iconic Paintings By Picasso

Pablo Picasso is probably the most important figure of 20th century, in terms of art, and art movements that occurred over this period. By the time he turned 50, the Spain born artist had become the biggest known name in modern art, with the most distinct style and eye for artistic creation. There had been hardly any artists prior to Picasso who had a mass following of people as he did. The kind of impact that he had on the art world was like no other.

Pablo Picasso was born in Spain in 1881, and spent most of his childhood there before moving to France where hs spent most of his life later on. During his long illustrious career, he created more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and other items such as costumes and theater sets. He is universally renowned as one of the most influential and celebrated artists of the twentieth century.

Skyshot picks Picasso's 7 most iconic paintings covering his various art periods:

1. Self Potrait, 1901

Period: Blue Period (1901 to 1904)

Throughout his career, Picasso painted various likenesses of himself that reveal his progress in life and art. This Self-Portrait, painted during his second stay in Paris in the winter of 1901 marked the beginning of the Blue Period.

He was only twenty years old at the time, but he appears considerably older in this portrait.

2. Boy Leading a Horse, 1906

Period: Rose Period (1904 to 1906)

Boy Leading a Horse is yet another masterpiece critics praise.

The two figures - horse and boy - first appeared as a sketch for a much larger masterpiece that was never finished.

No expert seems to have noticed that the horse in the picture under discussion is derived from Mantegna's Parnassus in the Louvre. Parnassus was the mythic home of the arts.

3. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907

Period: African-influenced Period (1907 to 1909)

This painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, was painted in 1907 and is the most famous example of cubism painting. In this painting, Picasso abandoned all known form and representation of traditional art. He used distortion of female's body and geometric forms in an innovative way, which challenge the expectation that paintings will offer idealized representations of female beauty. It also shows the influence of African art on Picasso.

This painting is a large work and took nine months to complete. It demonstrates the true genius and novelty of Picasso's passion. He created hundreds of sketches and studies to prepare for the final work.

4. Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1910

Period: Cubism (1909 to 1912)

Ambroise Vollard (1867-1939) was one of the great art dealers of the 20th century.

In Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, Vollard's downcast eyes, apparently closed, the massive explosion of his bald head, multiplying itself up the painting like an egg being broken open, his bulbous nose and the dark triangle of his beard are the first things the eye latches on to. They are recognizable.

The more one looks for a picture, the more insidiously Picasso demonstrates that life is not made of pictures but of unstable relationships between artist and model, viewer and painting, self and world. And yet this is a portrait of an individual whose presence fills the painting.

5. Three Musicians, 1921

Period: Neoclassicism and Surrealism (1918 to 1945)

This celebrated work, now in the New York Museum of Modern Art, is part of series painted while was with his young family in the Fontaineblueau in the summer of 1921. It marks a return to high Synthetic Cubism and his enduring Commedia dellArte imaginary, commenced in the early days in Paris.

Three Musicians is a large painting measuring more than 2 meters wide and high. It is painted in the style of Synthetic Cubes. It is hard to tell where one musician starts and another stops, because the shapes that create them intersect and overlap, as if they were paper cutouts.

Picasso paints three musicians made of brightly colored, abstract shapes in a shallow, boxlike room. On the left is a clarinet player, in the middle a guitar player, and on the right a singer holding sheets of music.

6.The Weeping Woman, 1937

Period: Neoclassicism and Surrealism (1918 to 1945)

The Weeping Woman series is regarded as a thematic continuation of the tragedy depicted in Picasso's epic painting Guernica. In focusing on the image of a woman crying, the artist was no longer painting the effects of the Spanish Civil War directly, but rather referring to a singular universal image of suffering.

The model for the painting, indeed for the entire series, was Dora Maar, who was working as a professional photographer when Picasso met her in 1936; she was the only photographer allowed to document the successive stages of Guernica while Picasso painted it in 1937.

Dora Maar was Picasso's mistress from 1936 until 1944. In the course of their relationship, Picasso painted her in a number of guises, some realistic, some benign, others tortured or threatening.

Picasso explained: For me she's the weeping woman. For years I've painted her in tortured forms, not through sadism, and not with pleasure, either; just obeying a vision that forced itself on me. It was the deep reality, not the superficial one... Dora, for me, was always a weeping woman....And it's important, because women are suffering machines.”

7. Guernica, 1937

Period: Neoclassicism and Surrealism (1918 to 1945)

Probably Picasso's most famous work, Guernica is certainly his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi's devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War.

Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.

Guernica is blue, black and white, 3.5 metre (11 ft) tall and 7.8 metre (25.6 ft) wide, a mural-size canvas painted in oil. This painting can be seen in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. For the historical significance, read THIS.

So these were our pick for Picasso's 7 best paintings of all time.

Note that these selections are based on extensive research and parameters used were covering the artworks historical significance, Picasso's personal favorites, his various art periods and how these artworks are valued today.

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Anubhav Gaur

Written by Anubhav Gaur

Founder, Skyshot Media

Instagram: iamanubhavgaur

Twitter: iamanubhavgaur


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